We’ll see if any of my kids are.
So this is what I have always done to keep my children safe.
Told them all the things they shouldn’t do by giving them examples of the people who did them.
It’s a scientific way of raising children.
(I noticed–by the expressions on their little faces–the 7-year-olds in the Sunday School class weren’t taught this way in THEIR homes.)
“And then volt after volt of electricity poured into his little body.
He died a horrible death.
And when his mother found him, she also found the bobby pin.
NEVER stick anything into an electrical outlet.”
“And then the lion clawed her face off. All because she wouldn’t listen to her mother and got close to the lion cage with the beef jerky.
Please listen to me and stand a safe distance from all the cages.
Even a penguin can cause bodily harm.
And I’m not sure I can get this cashmere jacket off in time to jump in after you.”
“And then she fell. All the way to bottom.
Why? She got too close to the window.
How could she know a screen wouldn’t hold her weight–isn’t that what we think a screen is for–not just to let in fresh air? And could anyone but the staff know there was that slight downward slant to the floor?
Just keep away from the edge.”
Each of these stories (and millions like them) ended like this:
“She’s maimed. And oh how the people stare, except her mother who loves the child even though she’s scarred for life.”
“She can see, partially, from her one eye if she stands just right, with her head tilted in that special little way.”
“You think that hang nail hurts? Let me tell you a story that ends in amputation and all because she went outside in winter barefoot.”
I have to say that I can’t call my girls in to tell them a story, to share a teaching moment, any more. They know the tone of my voice or something. It’s in the way I say, “Hey, girls. Come here.”
I used to have a not-so-subtle introduction.
Now I just have to leap to the very ending of the story and say it all in one long breath.
Well, you get the picture.
What I didn’t teach my girls about was an eclipse.
How was I to know that an almost full eclipse would happen and the best place to view it would be UTAH?
Here is information directly from the NASA site:
“Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Even when 99 percent of the sun’s surface is obscured during the partial phases of a total eclipse, the remaining photospheric crescent is intensely bright and cannot be viewed safely without eye protection. Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness.”
We’ll see who is blind this morning.
No, I’m not kidding.
As Drew drove away with Carolina to go and watch this spectacular event, I ran next to the car telling them both everything that could happen to their eyes.
(Yes, I’m an expert in eclipse damage now. An expert in yet another way to live your life when you hadn’t thought it might turn out with that ending. It isn’t just the book that is harmful to one’s health.)
“Injury is confirmed hours later. Don’t even glance!”
“Your retina will not slough off the dead skin from the horrible burn. You’ll just be blind.”
“You cannot even tell you are burning. The retina is cooked. Cooked!”
(I hollered this last part as the Porsche headed away south down Canyon Road.)
But what about Laura, Kyra and Elise?
Sure I had scared my 74-year-old mother sufficiently.
Neither of them dared look anywhere near the sky.
They kept their heads down the whole car ride–as first the sun seemed to intensify. And then darken.
(Here’s the thing.
I accidentally did glance at the sun.
“Mother,” Cait said, disgusted. “Do you think you can trick the sun by sneaking a look at it?”
“No,” I whispered.
But from that point on my vision dulled.
I kept thinking, Now what? What have I done? Is my sight gone? Can I see? Not so good. Have I cooked my retinas to a crisp?
This morning it’s fine.)
I couldn’t help but think of people long ago.
people who watched this frightening, end-of-the-world display.
I can see them falling to their knees.
Crying out in fear.
Knowing their god is destroying the sun, putting it out.
I’m sure they prayed, chanted, did whatever.
And they all wound up blind because they didn’t know not to look.
There’s a book in that.
A terrible, terrible story.
“And because she didn’t know, her retinas were burned like too-done bacon, and she would never ever see her beautiful boyfriend again.”
“Is that a true story?”
“Yes. Yes, it is.”
I have to await the damage Laura, Elise and Kyra have sustained.
They weren’t with me.
I couldn’t read pages of information to them from the Internet.
And when I called last night I heard that one had stated “I’m a rebel!” as she watched the eclipse (I can find designer, black glasses for the rebel) and the other two had watched through sunglasses, and out the back of the car window, glancing only briefly.
Perhaps the cloudy sky helped.
But I doubt it as “Damage to the eyes comes predominantly from invisible infrared wavelengths.” So says NASA.
Here are two more facts: Vinegar doesn’t cover the smell of poop.
And nothing clears up as fast as it does on TV and that’s why you shouldn’t have sex before marriage. Remember that.